A man asked me if when I coded, I saw an beams of light, heard any voices.
All I could think was, great, another person to tell me I should have, I should have seen a light, I should have heard the angels singing.
“No” I said, “I didn’t.”
And he told me he didn’t either and he wondered where God was. But he said this is his 2nd chance and God had a hand. He said God must have believed he wasn’t ready, that he shouldn’t leave having only taken. He said he was given a 2nd chance so he could give, give back.
“You have a gift” he said, “don’t ever forget that.”
— Lisa Unger, Beautiful Lies (via simply-quotes)
That night I didn’t want to be a woman
but you wanted to be a man,
so I laid beneath you
wishing that I was no body
but I was less than that
I was your body.
The silence rested between us
like a gun
aimed at your gut.
and every bit of strength I had left
in my tongue
formed only one weak word,
That word left my mouth like a bullet,
leaving shrapnel in my throat.
I waited for you to collapse
into the three am darkness,
to fall to the floor
a defeated man.
But your hips moved
as if my lips had not
and you pinned me to the floor boards
like those butterflies I killed
in biology class.
I know how sick I felt
when I dragged their frail bodies
from the coffin of a mason jar
and pinned them to some cardboard
to be looked at
like cheap decorations
that never lived at all.
I wonder if you felt that sick.
I wonder if you felt my goose bumps
and read my fear like brail beneath your body.
I wonder if you even saw me lying there.
The next morning I scrubbed myself raw
trying to purge your sweat from my pores
but it was only wishful thinking that water
could wash away the weight of this.
I still feel your fingertips
plucking me apart like a daisy
and for too long since that night
I have looked at myself in the mirror
and thought nothing but
I love me nots.
For too long since that night
I have replayed in my mind
every mistake I made.
As a child I was told
that the tongue is the strongest muscle
in the human body,
so why did it take everything in me
just to lift a single word?
Maybe if I said it in a different tone,
in a louder voice, from a stronger throat,
maybe if I screamed until you listened
things would have been different.
But a year has passed
and nothing about that night
is any different.
No matter which way I spin it
the memory still makes me dizzy.
I have spent too long thinking that night
was a testament to my weakness,
too long thinking that
holding people at a distance
was proof of my strength.
I have always been stronger
than an arms length.
If I ever want to be held again
I have to believe that you are human,
I have to believe that your hands
have the potential to hold
even if I only felt them
in purple palm prints
pressed across my skin.
I am not a daisy.
I know that my worth
is not held together in petals
that can be plucked away from me.
It is not held
between the inside of my thighs
nor was it torn apart when they were spread
by some man who confused sorrow
My worth is held
between the edges of my lips
when they spread into a smile,
my mother’s arms
and my father’s laughter.
It is held
between my two open palms
when they’re pressed to the heaven’s.
My worth is held
between the chambers of my heart,
a pulse I once confused for punishment
I’m now certain
If she went there a second time, he would have told her she was beautiful.
She would have looked at the ground.
He would have insisted they trade shoes, so he would have an excuse to see her again.
She would have walked around in shoes she couldn’t fill.
If she went there a third time, he would have held her girlish hand
and walked along the uneven sidewalks of the small town they both grew up in.
If he tucked a long, brown curl behind her ear and whispered “I think I finally feel something real” butterflies would have fluttered gently beneath her rib cage.
If curiosity lead her there again, he would have met her beneath the cherry trees that lined the roads outside of the home she grew up in.
She would have blushed when he said that he wrote her letter and would bring it to her next time they were together.
He would have known there would be a next time.
And if that next time came, there would be no letter.
He would have arrived late as she waited by the window.
She would have opened the door when she saw him, recognizing the way he smiled, slightly crooked with his lips curled up at the edges.
If she let him into her home, her mother would have worn her nervous smile, her brother would have glared in silence, and her father would have talked to her guest, privately.
She would have ignored her farther the entire dinner and her mother would have tried to make small talk. Her brother would have refused to eat with them.
If defiance led her there again, he would have kissed her. She would have leaned in like she’d seen women do in films, thinking she was ready to do what a women does.
If she went there a seventh time, she would have returned an eighth, a ninth. If habit drove her back a tenth time, they would have laid beneath the sheets of his twin sized bed whispering “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”
The August sun streaming through has window would have fooled her into thinking his eyes lit up when he said “I love you.”
If love drove her there a twentieth time, it would have surely driven her back a thirtieth. She would have heard rumors in the days in between as the small town began to whisper of him with another her.
If desperation drew her back a fortieth time, he would have demanded she change before dinner because her dress would have been too tight.
She would have wriggled from its soft, black material like a snake shedding its shameful skin and slipped into something that would hide her newly formed curves.
If shame drew her there a seventieth time, he would have seen her talking with another guy and dragged her away from the party.
The stereo in his car would have played distant sounds as he sped down the dimly lit roads.
Her voice would have risen over the radio but fallen under his as he screamed, turning his veins into swollen blue vines that strangled his neck. He would have slammed on the breaks, she would have shoved him into the window. His knuckles would have gone white as they tore across her face.
If she crawled there a seventy-first time, her face would have pouted with a split lip. He would have seen her with sober eyes and kissed the blood back into her body, swearing to never let this happen again.
If she sulked back a one hundredth time, he would have learned to never bruise the face but only skin that could be buried beneath blue jeans and baggy sweatshirts.
She would have learned how to throw a punch.
She would have learned how to clean his sins from the slate of her flesh with concealer, and powder, and clever excuses.
Every time they kissed they would be sharpening each others’ tongues until they’d draw so much blood they’d eventually collapse and confuse this for falling in love.
If fear dragged her there again, she would have gone back for the very last time.
After that, a year would have passed, bones would have snapped, and eventually questions would have been asked. She would have excuses tattooed on her tongue, ready to spit them at any concerned ears.
If she went there one more time, she would have woken up in a paper gown to her mother’s tears and he father’s blood red poker face.
If delirium had her ask, “Why does this hurt?”
The nurse would have responded “Love hurts, kid.”
If she was sent to some gray-haired shrink, she would have lied through grinning teeth.
If she was given pills, they wouldn’t haven’t helped. She would still hear his voice every morning whispering “you’re not worth it.”
If she got a restraining order, she would have called him anyway.
If she went back, just to say goodbye, she would have stayed for two more years. She would have stayed until her heart couldn’t catch up to the blood loss. Until the butterflies beneath her rib cage had beaten their wings so violently she was full of nothing but sickness.
If she went there just one more time, she would have died.
So she went there a second time and he told her she was beautiful.
She looked him in the eyes and with a smile she she said “I know.”
And they never spoke again.
It has taken me five years
to write you this poem
I am the same age now
as you were the first time
you stuffed yourself inside me
and I couldn’t figure out why
you wouldn’t fit.
I used to write you love poems
with lines like “in that moment, we were so close
not even our ghosts could fit between us”
But the truth is,
I never had any ghosts before I met you.
I want to know
what drew you to me.
Was it the color of my eyes?
No, it wasn’t that.
I never looked up from my shoes
long enough for you to see them.
I want to know, when you’d call immature
was that insult or a compliment?
For God’s sake,
just because I’d gotten my period
less than a year before
that does not mean I was ready
to do what a woman does.
We haven’t spoken in two years
but I still hear you every morning
when my eyelashes flutter open,
whispering “you’re not worth it.”
Believe me, I know I hurt you too.
Every time we kissed
we were sharpening each others tongues
until we drew so much blood
that our hearts just couldn’t catch up.
Sometimes I still miss that light headed feeling
from loosing too much blood
because everyone knows that red
is the color of love.
My therapist sits across from me
trying to explain
that I was a slave to your touch
I keep screaming L-O-V-E
but she keeps correcting me with the letters
I can’t bare the thought that
our love was something you did to me.
For three years I felt like air beneath your body
as you tore right through mine.
In your bedroom
our heavy breathing
sounded less passion
and more like a secret.
I didn’t know then
that I was worse than no body
I was your body
and you could have me any day you wanted
any way you wanted
and I hated that,
I still hate that.
Now I think back
on that time
you touched me in toys R us
and I feel sick
thinking of the irony of this
I know that I’m no victim
because you told me so everyday
but what you didn’t know
was as much as I hated you,
I always blamed myself anyway
I’m the one who smiled at you,
who let you kiss me,
who walked four miles in the snow
just because you said that you missed me,
I’m the one who believed you when you said “this will only hurt a little”
who thought your were looking for my heart when you tore off
the one who could never walk away
I’m the one who always stayed.
That’s why you called me a boomerang
knowing I’d always come back around you
and maybe your right,
maybe I am crazy, and immature, and fake
maybe I am needy, and desperate, and pathetic.
And you’re right, it does take two
You’re right, I did stay, I did choose
But what I really want to know from you is,
I was a child, what is your fucking excuse?
And no answer you could give
will ever take this pain away.
Because the truth is,
I’ve known for years about the kind of man you are
everyone who has ever heard a whisper in that small town
knows about the kind of man you are
but I’m so sick of thinking about the kind of man you are
you will never truly be gone
until I know
the kind of a woman
that I am.
— Helen Humphreys (via creatingaquietmind)
but hit me like a man.
Don’t let guilt
turn your fist
into an open hand,
this isn’t a place for peace.
until the bruises break into blood
everyone knows that
is the color